Focus Features is riding to the rescue of “Passengers,” the upcoming Keanu Reeves film that was postponed this month after Rachel McAdams exited the project, an individual familiar with the situation told TheWrap.
A representative for Focus declined comment, as did producer Ben Browning.
In a splashy deal, The Weinstein Company acquired U.S. rights to the project out of Cannes last year, but TWC recently withdrew its involvement after Rachel McAdams left the project following Reese Witherspoon‘s exit.
Focus Features is now close to signing a deal to handle domestic distribution, according to an individual with knowledge of the project.
Reeves stars as a passenger on a spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant planet. Due to a malfunction in a sleep chamber, he awakens years before anyone else. All alone on the vessel, he decides to wake up another passenger.
The script, which is being positioned as a sci-fi romance, is out to several prominent actresses and the film’s backers are confident that a replacement for McAdams will be found shortly.
“Game of Thrones” director Brian Kirk will make his feature directing debut from a script by “Prometheus” writer Jon Spaihts. “Passengers” will be produced and financed by Browning’s Start Motion Pictures and Stephen Hamel’s Company Films. Reeves will also produce the movie, which is slated to start production later this year in Germany.
Heading into last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Exclusive Media’s international sales chief Alex Walton described “Passengers” as “big in terms of scale and ambition, and more than that, a big movie in terms of commercial potential.”
The deal with Focus is being negotiated by domestic sales agent CAA.